An Investigation: Why White People Hate Kanye West So Damn Much » VSB

Featured, Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

An Investigation: Why White People Hate Kanye West So Damn Much

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

 

Human Rorschach test Kanye West closed out last night’s Billboard Music Awards with performances of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead” that were bleeped so many times they should have just had him holding a sign with the word “censored” as the entire performance. The reactions on my timeline and newsfeed about his pyrotechnics ranged from pissed to exasperated to amazed to frustrated. Basically, the exact same range of feelings about Kanye whenever he performs or interviews or drops new music or names his children or appears at NBA games or tries to order sashimi at Burger King.

There was one feeling missing, though: Hate. Again, there was not a lack of Kanye-inspired negative emotion on my timeline and newsfeed. But even the people most turned off by him don’t hate him, they’re just extremely annoyed by and/or disappointed in him.

But most of the people I follow on Twitter are Black. As are most of my Facebook friends. And when I leave the confines of my self-imposed Negrotown, that hate starts to appear.

Sometimes it appears in the comments sections of places like Slate and Gawker, where some people appear to be so incredulous of and angered by the fact that some people actually don’t hate him that it El Ninos their already burgeoning hate fire. Sometimes it’s so literal that, well, it can’t possibly be any more literal.

Obviously, not all White people hate Kanye West. He has millions of White fans willing to attend every show, buy every album, and excuse every attempt to convince us plus-sized Ziplock bags are high fashion. And, more importantly, hundreds of White writers, bloggers, critics and other arbiters of popular culture consider him to be a musical genius. But while it’s true that not all White people hate Kanye, if you do happen to encounter someone who hates Kanye, they’re at least 976% likely to be White.

Why, though? Where exactly does this hate — this anger orgy of all things Kanye-related — come from? Let’s look at a few theories.

1. His outspokenness and apparent arrogance

Ah, yes. Nothing burns the type of White person who’d expend actual effort hating a Black person who A) they’ll never, ever, ever meet and B) has never committed any real crime deeper than a Black person who gives no fucks about telling everyone how awesome he happens to be. This arrogance is unexpected ginger in their tea; a wasabi smoothie burning their nostrils making them wonder why the hell they thought it was a good idea to order a wasabi smoothie.

Still, there are other Black public figures as loudly and unambiguously confident in their abilities as West, many of them don’t receive this type of animus (Tyson, Mike; Jordan, Michael), and some of whom can’t even grow beards (Pierce, Paul).

That in mind, I’d say there’s a 36% chance the hate is caused by this.

2. His ordeal with Taylor Swift

We don’t have to revisit what happened when that happened. Or why what happened happened. Or even why what happened after it happened happened. Just know that the only way you’re going to make that many White people angry again is if you discontinue the production and sale of kale.

Hate cause likelihood: 271%

3. His comments about George Bush

Is often blamed for some of the hate the White people who hate Kanye feel. But at that time, no one — Blacks, Whites, other members of the Bush family, grammar, etc — was really fucking with Dubya, so Kanye was preaching to the choir.

Hate cause likelihood: 4%

4. His sleeping with a very famous White woman

Perhaps it’s due to her (relatively) dark hair/skin and “un-American-sounding” name. Or maybe it’s because of her being romantically linked to basically nothing but Black men. Regardless of the reason, it does seem like (some) White people don’t necessarily claim Kim Kardashian as White. I mean, if they had a big-ass All White People In America And Shit Picnic, she’d probably get invited. But she’d probably have to eat with paper plate and a single spork.

Hate cause likelihood: 14%

5. His status as an “artistic genius”

This one is tricky, because this particular form of hate is actually a reaction to the love other White people give him. Even if you don’t agree with the lauds about Kanye’s talent and musical genius, you at least have to acknowledge that there are very many people who do. Some of whom study and write about music and pop culture for a living, and generally have people take their opinions very seriously.

Thing is, giving Kanye — a rapper who produces rap music — that type of praise angers certain people who believe rap music is simplistic and elementary. (And, for many of them, rap is simplistic and elementary because it’s something created and cultivated by mostly Black people) Calling a person associated with rap a “genius” legitimizes an artform they believe to be illegitimate. A rapper can be entertaining. Or hard working. Or popular. But because all it apparently takes to create rap music is some nursery rhymes screamed on top of a beat machine, rap is inherently unsmart. And if rap is inherently unsmart (and inherently Black), you can not exhibit any type of real intellect when creating that music.

Hate cause likelihood: 198%

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • I think you missed a cause: that he goes into stereotypically White arenas to compete without kissing up to them. White people in this era don’t really mind Black people doing different stuff… But you have to kiss the ring first if you’re Black. Kanye West does none of that stuff. He acts like he should be treated as important because he’s Black. As someone who spent large chunks of my 20s doing Kanye like ish in laboratories throughout the NY tri state, I get it.

  • Val

    Lol.

  • blogdiz

    Nope no such affection here

    • K Lust

      Meh. Idk, not to get all biblical/ hippie flower love child. But i try not to judge him. Everybody has their demons and he is obviously exercising them at every possible moment. Sometimes its good, sometimes it’s bad.

  • White guys have a shocking dislike for Kim Kardashian from what I’ve seen.

    I think when it comes to the hatred of Kanye, it’s the same reason why when these white folks go to Africa, they go to the villages where they are likely to see babies with flies pecking on their cheeks rather than visit the cities where they are more likely to see Africans in Bentleys, Rolls Royces living in Mansions etc. Unlike those who just hate black people period, rich or poor, they actually love black people, but only when they are oppressed, carricatures, extremely religious/superstitous, broke, “backwards”, “uncivilized” etc. They hate to see black people, who outside of melanin are capable of acting and being just like them…they hate to look themselves in the mirror and see themselves in black face.

    • Epsilonicus

      Or look at Black people and see them doing better

    • adolph putler

      REALLY? sounds like it came to you in crack dream fantasy soul trip.

  • always right

    I think people hate Kanye for the same reasons they hate Mayweather. A lot of people will claim that they hate Mayweather because of his checkered past with domestic violence (which I find deplorable) but that past has been there, and it wasn’t until recently that people have used this as an excuse to hate him. Not to mention there are plenty of famous men who have domestic violence issues but people don’t hate them the same. I believe people hate these two guys because they aren’t afraid to remind everyone how great they are, and they have made so much money/success while not totally upping a college education (Kanye’s first album’s title and many of the skits). I believe white people in particular hate a black man who has not only made it, but who has made it without education, any handouts, and who goes against the whole system.

    • ReadyRoc

      Ding Ding Ding. You won with the correct answer.

    • nillalatte

      “I believe white people in particular hate a black man who has not only made it, but who has made it without education, any handouts, and who goes against the whole system.”

      That theory might not hold as much water as one would hope.
      Case in point: Barack Hussein Obama. I rest my case.

      • always right

        President Obama is the direct opposite of an uneducated man, he is acutally very educated. President Obama wouldn’t be the president without his education. Also, Obama doesn’t go against the system of education. So he isn’t a good example at all really.

        • nillalatte

          Right. To clarify, I was thinking of Barack being the exact opposite of what you described and still ‘making it’ however one defines ‘making it’. I get what you wrote, I just don’t see it the same way.

          Kayne has an education albeit apparently dropped out of college. College doesn’t guarantee success and there are a lot of folks that passed on college and still are very successful (depending on how you define success).

          and, this statement:

          “I believe people hate these two guys because they aren’t afraid to remind everyone how great they are”

          They are ‘not afraid’ because both have a personality disorder called narcissism although they have varying degrees and present their behavior in different ways. Having dealt with a psycho-pathological narcissist, their behavior is a pure put-off to me and has nothing to do with being Black or wealthy.

          Thanks for the discussion. :)

          • always right

            People love to classify people as having a narcissistic personality whenever it suits them. Just because someone has a very high opinion of himself doesn’t mean he suffers from some type of personality disorder. Unless a medical doctor has classified these two personally as having some type of disorder, I am not inclined to believe it. I am inclined, however, to believe that people will say anything to fit their argument.

            • nillalatte

              LOL… okay. Believe what you like. I definitely know the characteristics of a narcissist. And, btw, medical doctors do not diagnose personality disorders. Just saying.

              • always right

                A psychiatrist isn’t considered a medical doctor these days? I bet they hate having to go to medical school then.

                • nillalatte

                  Lord girl, you are persistent I will give you that. Look, I work with “medical doctors.” Psychiatry is a specialty and they do not perform the same tasks as a ‘medical doctor’ nor do they hold the same privileges as a ‘medical doctor.’ I can guarantee you do not want a psychiatrist in place of a ‘medical doctor.’ I’m done now. This horse was dead a long time ago.

                  • always right

                    I’m glad that you work with medical doctors, that’s good for you. Psychiatrists are considered medical doctors because they went to medical school and are degreed in it. They diagnose personality disorders, therefore, they are medical doctors who diagnose personality disorders. But I’m sure someone such as yourself who works for medicals doctors is just as able to diagnose someone. Now I’m done too.

                    • OdasbestfriendMingo{???}

                      psychiatrists aren’t medical doctor to some people I guess .

                  • OdasbestfriendMingo{???}

                    omg, you are actually doubling down on this even though you’re wrong? you got a few disorders going on.

              • OdasbestfriendMingo{???}

                Psychiatrists diagnose personality disorders, and last time i checked, they are indeed medical doctors. you disappoint me, man.

          • OdasbestfriendMingo{???}

            took a psych class and now you go around diagnosing people you’ve never met and probably never will meet. You believe your insight to be so astute that you would ballpark the inner behavioral composition of an individual. To me, that is the height of narcissism.

            • nillalatte

              Narcissism is a very self-fulfilling personality disorder. Yes, I am intimately knowledgeable of this disorder, not because I do not possess some narcissist traits- we all do- but, because I lived and battled at psychopathological narcissist, certified for 21 years, and still counting. Your opinion has no merit in this what was a dead discussion.

              I stand by my statement; medical doctors and psychiatrist’s, though they may each hold a M.D., are not ‘medical doctors.’ What I may have failed to explain further is in the clinical environment, the terminology is more specific and accurate than used by the general public, which may not have been understood by the other poster at the time, hence the not being able to reach an understanding of the conversation.

              • OdasbestfriendMingo{???}

                medical doctors include psychiatrist. goodbye

    • MsSula

      “I believe white people in particular hate a black man who has not only made it, but who has made it without education, any handouts, and who goes against the whole system.”

      *nods head*

    • Oisin Gilmore

      What is so great about Kanye though. Is he a top 10 MC? Nope. What about a top 10 producer? Imo, no. RZA, DRE Quik, Premier, Pete Rock, Q Tip, Large Professor, Pharell, Timbaland, Alchemist, Marley Marl, Buckwild, Diamond D, etc are all superior producers imo.

      Kanyes arrogance does not match his talents. He seems very talented in this age because the competition is weak.

      • always right

        You said it…”imo”. It’s all a matter of opinion. The one thing I’ll never get into an argument about is who is the greatest at anything because it’s so subjective. I love Kanye, but some don’t and that’s cool.

  • Nick Peters

    Easy:

    1. He is the personification of the American Dream (Rags to Riches)
    2. Unapologetic Black
    3. Demands Respect
    4. $ex with white women
    5. A$$hole

    The much more interesting question is why do white people really hate Floyd Mayweather

    • nillalatte

      Mayweather is a perpetrator of domestic abuse AND an arrogant azzhole. Satisfied? Has nothing to do with being white. All the domestic abuse organizations have no use for him. None.

  • Julian Green

    I don’t have a clue why white people do anything. I know why I hate Kanye West:

    Yeezus.

    He gets critical acclaim for lazily trying to sound like Death Grips (which is a TERRIBLE idea because Death Grips f*king sucks).

    • Black Quarterback was one of the top 5 tracks of 2015 sir.

  • He’s an asshole.

    • So is Prince

      • Nick Peters

        So is anyone who is successful

      • Are you comparing Kanye to Prince?

        • No, just making a comparison of an a**hole who manages to be beloved anyway

          • Kanye is a different type of asshole and very unlikable. His lack of humility is also an issue. I’m Black, tho. *Kanye shrug*

            • Nick Peters

              If you were worth $200 million dollars and a cultural icon…would you be humble?

              • Yes. What kind of question is that? It’s not hard. Others do it.

      • Prince is a generational genius.

  • BRNSMRF

    Bingo! Rap isn’t real music to them. Seeing a big mouth black man get so much respect for it from their kids and favorite musicians is frustrating.
    I love the Kanye hate. It can reveal how a person perceives angry black men

  • Venusgate

    Speaking for myself: He’s a clown, that thinks he isn’t a clown. I don’t like professional clowns to begin with, but tolerate ironic clowns. He is the worst of both worlds.

More Like This